The water in Japanese hot springs is, not surprisingly, hot. So while it’s hot enough to soothe aching muscles and stiff joints, 15 minutes or so is usually about as long as most people can comfortably stay in at a time.
Because of that, a lot of hot springs have relaxation spaces so that you can take a soak, get dressed again and hang out for a bit, then head back to the baths for another dip in the therapeutic waters. Amenities vary from place to place, but a lot of hot springs, including the Mori no Onsen hot spring in Yamaguchi City, have shelves of manga that visitors can grab and leaf through, since comics are just the sort of thing for the chilled-out mental state the mind is in after a nice onsen bath.
▼ Mori no Onsen’s manga room
Something unfortunate happened with Mori no Onsen’s manga room recently, though. Take a look at the photo below posted to its official Twitter account, and you’ll see that there’s a sizable empty space on one shelf, which held the first 20 collected volumes of smash-hit manga "Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba" … until somebody stole them.
The tweet, which includes a famous line of dialogue from the series, reads:
“Sad news: Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba Volume 1 through 20 have been stolen from the relax room. We worked really hard to put together that set…
We would like whoever accidentally took them home to quietly return them.
‘When someone is about to lose their way, let’s all work together to keep them on the right path.’
We aren’t filing a report with the police, and instead want to use the power of social media to keep this person on the right path.”
Between Mori no Onsen’s willingness to refrain from pressing charges and being kindhearted enough to allow whoever took the manga to say they did so accidentally, the hot spring is trying to take the highest road possible in righting this wrong. Several Twitter commenters, though, aren’t nearly so leniently minded.
“It’s the police’s job to stop people from going down a bad path, so I think you should report the theft.”
“I completely agree.”
“I’d say the thief is already on a bad path. Time to get the police involved.”
“There’s no way someone ‘accidentally’ put 20 volumes in their bag and took them home by accident. I think you should tell the police.”
But despite it being hard to see the incident as anything but malicious theft, Mori no Onsen still wants to resolve the matter in the gentlest way it can, putting out a follow-up statement that says:
At the moment, we have not filed a report with the police, and are waiting to see what will happen. If the person who took the manga home happens to personally be a fan of Demon Slayer, we want even more to give them the benefit of the doubt.
We’ve seen many reactions to the effect of ‘You should call the police!’ and ‘What a jerk!’ and we thank you for your concern. However, we ask that you refrain from posting intimidating messages. Please give us a few days to see what will happen.
We want to believe in the person who took the manga, both as a Demon Slayer fan, and as a human being. We apologize to those of you for whom that doesn’t sit well with, but we ask for your understanding.”
Mori no Onsen has taken a suggestion from other Twitter users though in setting up an Amazon Wish List for the set, which can be found here, in case whoever took their manga feels uneasy coming to the facility itself to return them. Hopefully their faith in humanity will be rewarded, although even if it doesn’t, one fan who learned of the dilemma has already offered to give the hot spring his set of "Demon Slayer" Volumes 1-18, free of charge.
Related: Mori no Onsen
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